A bit of a groundhog day situation here, I’m sad to report. The sastrugi still abound, although at times they thinned out enough for me to steer around and avoid the worst areas. To my dismay the open spaces in between the ridges were largely covered with deep, fresh snow, and ultimately I couldn’t decide which type of terrain was more frustrating.
My daydreams (or mind travel, as Ran Fiennes calls it) extended to cycling today, and I stumbled upon a rough correlation between kilometres per hour on a road bike and kilometres per day dragging a sledge in Antarctica. Low twenties is a modest/frustrating average, high twenties is going some. I tried to recall the fantastic five-day Rapha ride I joined from Molde to Oslo in Norway back in July (hello Jonny, Marius and the gang!) and a strange thing started to happen. Much like dream time in the movie Inception, Antarctica daydream time passes far more quickly than the actual time. The memory of an entire day in Norway took up five to ten minutes of skiing at best.
I don’t want to grumble too much about the frustrating conditions and the effort I’m putting in to getting so-so mileages down here, so I’ll sign off with a photo from one of my favourite moments of each day: in the tent in the evening with another day under my belt, the stove roaring away, a hot chocolate in my hand (or at least a chocolate-flavoured protein and carbohydrate recovery shake) and a chance to read the little note that’s been smuggled into that day’s ration bag. This one’s from Milly (hi Milly!)
Oh, and if anyone is interested in my reading habits – I found reading every evening was one of the things that kept me sane on my last expedition, and gave my mind precious fodder in a place desperately lacking in external stimuli – then I’ve just started Jonathan Franzen’s How to be Alone, which I of course bought for the title. I read The Corrections when I was in Antarctica in 2013 and loved it, and How to be Alone is a collection of his essays. He’s a damned good writer, and it’s proving perfect brain spinach.